Venice, Louisiana is aptly nicknamed “the end of the world.” The community of 1000, which includes Venice, Orchard and Boothville, is south of New Orleans is the most southerly terminus of the Great River Road and the last community on the Mississippi River. Venice was almost completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. East of Venice, LA is a human-induced oxygen deprived dead zone on the Gulf of Mexico seabed with too little oxygen to support fish, shrimp, crabs and other forms of marine life, that expanded to its largest on record by 2008 of c. 8,000 square miles.

One of Venice’s main industries is to provide service and transport for off-shore petroleum platforms, including BP’s  Deepwater Horizon oil rig which exploded 2010-02-20 killing eleven people and causing a huge oil spill.

Deepwater Horizon, built in 2001, was a Transocean-owned semisubmersible drilling rig but it was leased to BP (65%), with partners Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Mitsui & Co. owning the remainder.

BP plc founded in 1909 as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (See wiki for its Iranian-British-American history), which became The British Petroleum Company plc then BP Amoco plc now called BP) “is a British global energy company that is also the third largest global energy company and the 4th largest company in the world. As a multinational oil company (“oil major”) BP is the UK’s largest corporation, with its headquarters in St James’s, City of Westminster, London.[2][3][4] The company is among the largest private sector energy corporations in the world, and one of the six “supermajors” (vertically integrated private sector oil exploration, natural gas, and petroleum product marketing companies). BP’s 2009 reports a revenue of $246.1 billion, a net incomeof US $16.58 billion, a total equity of US $101.6 billion with 92,000 employees worldwide. wiki source

See dramatic photos here.

BP’s Gulf of Mexico Deepwater operations which include Atlantis Oil Field, Thunder Horse, Mad Dog, Pompano, Holstein, Horn Mountain, Marlin, Nakika and Tiber oilfield (announced 2009; production not commenced) operates from Houston, Texas.

“Transocean LTD is the world’s largest offshore drilling contractor. The company rents out floating, mobile drill rigs, along with the equipment and personnel needed for operations, to oil and gas companies. The company was spun-off from its parent, Birmingham, Alabama based Sonat, Inc. in 1993 and was originally called Sonat Offshore Drilling, Inc. Sonat Offshore acquired the Norwegian group Transocean ASA in 1996 and adopted its name. In 2000 the company merged with Sedco Forex, and was renamed Transocean Sedco Forex. In 2001 the company bought Reading & Bates Falcon. The name of the company was simplified to Transocean in 2003. Sedco Forex was originally part of Schlumberger until 2000 when it was spun off. Sedco Forex was originally formed from the merger of two drilling companies, the Southeast Drilling Company (Sedco) and French drilling company Forex. Transocean employs approximately 26,300 people worldwide and has a fleet of 136 vessels and units as of March, 2009. It was incorporated in the Cayman Islands while the principal office is in Houston, Texas. On December 8, 2008, the company’s shareholders voted to move its incorporation from the Caymans to Zug, Switzerland. The company has offices in 20 countries around the world, with major offices in Stavanger, Aberdeen, Perth, Brazil, Indonesia and Malaysia. On July 23, 2007, Transocean announced a merger with GlobalSantaFe Corporation. The merger was completed on November 27, 2007.” wiki source

Steven L. Newman, CEO became CEO of Transocean in March 2010 just before the explosion. Newman joined the company in 1994 in the Corporate Planning Department. Mr. Newman holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and an MBA from the Harvard University Graduate School of Business.

Macondo prospect:
“The Macondo prospect is located on Mississippi Canyon Block 252 in the Gulf of Mexico in a water depth of 4,993 feet (1,522 meters). BP serves as the operator and holds a 100% interest in the prospect, which was acquired at the MMS Lease Sale #206 in March 2008. On Feb. 23, 2009 an EP was submitted to MMS (OCS-G 32306) proposing to drill and temporarily abandon two exploratory wells on the field. Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon semisub, which caught fire on April 20, 2010, was drilling the Macondo prospect. According to Dow Jones, the well had reached a depth of at least 11,500 feet (3,502 meters), when BP filed a permit with MMS to temporarily abandon the well. The rig sunk after erupting into flames from a blowout. BP may drill a relief well, if required, and will utilize a nearby drilling rig, which is available to commence drilling immediately source.”

Draft! My Google Map entitled Oil Sands, delicious, papergirls, EndNote, YouTube, Draft!

See also

Places of interest:
MacKay River: In the story on The difference is spelling of McKay in Fort McKay and MacKay River is confusing. Is McKay River (known locally as Red River) the same river as MacKay River? Where is Devon?

National Geographic suggests the potential worth of the Alberta oil sands is $80 trillion.

See also

Notes

Bitumen is basically oil-soaked sand.

Timeline

1965 Karl Clark, a patient chemist, took 45 years to perfect a hot-water process in which bitumen frothed to the top and sand settled to the bottom. He used his wife’s washing machine. In 1965 the Great Canadian Oil Sands Company (now Suncor) ran the first commercial application of Clark’s hot-water process producing 45,000 barrels a day. In order to create the mine to feed the hot-water process, thousands of trees were bulldozed (Nikiforuk 2008).

1976 The Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) founded in 1976, has been Canada’s private sector leader in the promotion of international trade and investment liberalization. The members of the CCCE include the chief executive officers of 150 leading Canadian corporations. These companies collectively administer close to $3.0 trillion in assets, have annual revenues of more than $650 billion and account for a significant majority of Canada’s private sector investment, exports, training and research and development.

1997 Among other initiatives, the CCCE organized and hosted the first-ever APEC (Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation) CEO Summit in 1997, during which it received His Excellency Jiang Zemin, then-President of China.

2002 Suncor began producing oil at MacKay River in 2002, while Firebag stages 1 and 2 began producing oil in 2004 and 2006 respectively. The sequence and timing of additional stages of Firebag and a potential expansion of the MacKay River facility will be considered as part of a review of oil sands growth projects.

2006 “In 2006, more than 100 of Canada’s public companies were acquired by foreign interests. The list includes some of the oldest and most well-established companies across a broad spectrum of industries – everything from hotels to retailing, to metals and mining. And the trend continues. I sometimes worry that we may all wake up one day and find that as a nation, we have lost control of our affairs. I think we ought to have a vigorous debate about the extent to which it matters whether or not ownership of our economy resides in Canada. I believe that ownership matters a lot. It matters not only for economic reasons but, more importantly in my opinion, for our own sense of self-esteem and pride in our country. My concern is not rooted in any chauvinism or in any antipathy towards foreign investment. Far from it. I happen to believe that globalization is a very positive development and that trade and investment across borders is to be encouraged. Canada benefits mightily from being “open for business” and we mustn’t do anything to change that. My concern stems from the fact that the world is awash with capital and that the consolidation trend in many industries will inevitably continue. We are a small country with a relatively small population. Canadian companies typically are not of a size to be global players. All too often, decisions affecting the future of important firms and the communities that they sustain are made solely with a view to the short-term financial consequences. I find it particularly bothersome that so many of our natural resource companies – which I would argue represent unique and irreplaceable assets – are now owned elsewhere. So what are some actions that we might consider taking? Well, what if we were to consider the feasibility of adopting ownership restrictions for certain sensitive sectors of our economy that would be similar to those that now apply to our financial institutions? After all, I would argue that it is a demonstrable fact that public policy regarding the ownership of our banks and insurance companies has served the country well; there is no shortage of competition in the financial services sector and the services available to Canadians are as comprehensive and as affordable as exist anywhere in the world. Securities regulation is another area where some useful debate could be undertaken. Many feel that Canada now has the most bidder-friendly environment in the world and that this may not always be in our country’s best interests. Under our rules, shareholder rights plans – also known as takeover defenses or “poison pills” – fall away after a very short 60 or 90 days, leaving the target company’s board with far too little time in which to explore alternatives. I believe that it is important for us as Canadians to have companies based here that are global leaders (D’Alessandro 2007-05-03).”

2005-11-18 “CEO Mission to China Builds on Canada’s Strategic Partnership with the World’s Largest Emerging Market.” Seventeen senior business leaders representing a wide swath of the Canadian economy will arrive in Beijing on Sunday for a five-day mission to further the development of stronger trade and investment ties between Canada and the People’s Republic of China. Organized by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), the mission marks the first purely private sector visit to China by a broadly based group of chief executives from among Canada’s largest enterprises. “Since the Council several years ago designated China as a country of the highest strategic importance, we have continued to seek opportunities to build an ever-broader foundation of mutual trust and fruitful bilateral cooperation.” The mission is led by Mr. d’Aquino and Richard L. George, Chairman of the CCCE and President and Chief Executive Officer of Suncor Energy Inc. Other participants include the CEOs of AGF Management Limited, Bentall Capital LLP, Brookfield Asset Management Inc., Canadian Oil Sands Limited, CanWest Global Communications Corp., Enbridge Inc., Harvard Developments Inc., Palliser Furniture Ltd., Pengrowth Management Limited, Petro-Canada, Polygon Homes Ltd., Power Corporation of Canada and Yanke Group of Companies. The CEO mission to China follows the recent establishment of the Canada-China Strategic Partnership by the Right Honourable Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, and His Excellency Hu Jintao, President of the People’s Republic of China. The Partnership, which was announced during President Hu’s visit to Ottawa in September, represents a watershed in relations between Canada and China, encompassing a wide range of bilateral and international areas. China is Canada’s second-largest trading partner, after the United States. The Canadian and Chinese governments have pledged to double bilateral trade within five years, to about $60 billion a year by 2010. The Canadian CEOs will spend three days in Beijing followed by two days in Shanghai. The agenda includes meetings with senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce, the National Development and Reform Commission, China International Capital Corporation, the China Securities Regulatory Commission and CITIC Group. “The emergence of China as a world economic power is opening up huge trade and investment opportunities for Canada,” Mr. d’Aquino said. “The Canadian Council of Chief Executives is committed to working closely at home and abroad to transform opportunity into success.” The CCCE, founded in 1976, has been Canada’s private sector leader in the promotion of international trade and investment liberalization. Among other initiatives, the CCCE organized and hosted the first-ever APEC (Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation) CEO Summit in 1997, during which it received His Excellency Jiang Zemin, then-President of China. The members of the CCCE include the chief executive officers of 150 leading Canadian corporations. These companies collectively administer close to $3.0 trillion in assets, have annual revenues of more than $650 billion and account for a significant majority of Canada’s private sector investment, exports, training and research and development. In addition to Mr. d’Aquino and Mr. George, the members of the CCCE’s Executive Committee are: Honorary Chairman A. Charles Baillie; and Vice-Chairmen Dominic D’Alessandro, Paul Desmarais, Jr., Jacques Lamarre, Gwyn Morgan and Gordon Nixon, the chief executives respectively of Manulife Financial, Power Corporation of Canada, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., EnCana Corporation and Royal Bank of Canada.

2009-09-01 “In a blockbuster [tentative] deal, privately owned Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. said PetroChina International Investment Co. Ltd. will buy a majority stake in its operations for $1.9 billion, marking the largest venture by China in the Canadian oilsands to date. [This is still to be reviewed by federal Industry Minister Tony Clement under the Investment Canada Act to evaluate the transaction’s net benefit to Canada.] Athabasca Oil Sands said the state-owned firm, one of the world’s most valuable oil and gas companies, will acquire a 60 per cent working interest in the MacKay River and Dover oilsands projects. “This deal shows that the biggest energy company in the world has chosen Athabasca as their partner,” chief executive and president Sveinung Svarte said in a conference call Monday. ” They clearly told us that’s because they like our assets the best and, obviously, they (the oilsands) are the crude oil story.” The two in-situ projects sit on approximately five billion barrels of bitumen that have yet to be developed, and are part of Athabasca’s almost 10 billion barrels of bitumen reserves. The play is one of the largest in the Athabasca region:about 121,400 hectares. “The reason we chose PetroChina over other some of the other bids was, obviously, their financial strength,” chairman Bill Gallacher said. “But also their technological capabilities related to heavy oil and(steam assisted gravity drainage), which we believe will benefit our project both efficiency-wise and production-wise (O’Meara 2009-09-01.”

Who’s Who

Bill Gallacher is Chair of the privately-owned Calgary-based Athabasca Oil Sands Corp which made a blockbuster deal with state-owned PetroChina International Investment Co. Ltd. -one of the world’s most valuable oil and gas companies- who will acquire a 60 per cent working interest for $1.9 billion in the MacKay River and Dover oilsands projects which Athabasca Oil Sands Corp will continue to operate, marking the largest venture by China in the Canadian oilsands to date. company said the projects, which it will continue to operate, will cost between $15 billion and $20 billion to develop. It has filed for provincial approval for both projects and intends to file an application for the first 35,000-barrel-per-day phase of MacKay River at the end of the year [. . .] Athabasca Oil Sands said it had notified federal and provincial officials on the proposed Chinese investment, which would make the foreign entity a majority stakeholder in the oilsands projects. Gallacher did not anticipate any issues to arise from the Competition Bureau on the deal. (O’Meara 2009-09-01.”

Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), the mission marks the first purely private sector visit to China by a broadly based group of chief executives from among Canada’s largest enterprises. The (CCCE) founded in 1976, has been Canada’s private sector leader in the promotion of international trade and investment liberalization. The members of the CCCE include the chief executive officers of 150 leading Canadian corporations. These companies collectively administer close to $3.0 trillion in assets, have annual revenues of more than $650 billion and account for a significant majority of Canada’s private sector investment, exports, training and research and development. Among other initiatives, the CCCE organized and hosted the first-ever APEC (Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation) CEO Summit in 1997, during which it received His Excellency Jiang Zemin, then-President of China. “Many of our members have friendships and commercial relationships in China stretching back years and in some cases decades,” said CCCE Chief Executive and President Thomas d’Aquino.

Thomas d’Aquino is “President and Chief Executive of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. He has been described by Peter C. Newman as “the most powerful influence on public policy formation in Canadian history”, and listed by historian Jack Granatstein as one of the 100 most influential Canadians of the twentieth century. A prolific writer and speaker, he has worked as special assistant to the Prime Minister, special counsel on international trade law and international advisor on strategic business problems (Northern Edge).”

David Stewart-Patterson is the “CCCE’s Executive Vice President. He is also the author of Post Mortem: Why Canada’s Mail Won’t Move, described by the Financial Post as “rather like reading a less gentle version of one of Studs Terkel’s oral histories”. A former journalist, he has worked as parliamentary correspondent for The Globe and Mail‘s Report on Business and as business editor for CTV’s Canada AM (Northern Edge).”

Northern Gateway project The multi-billion dollar proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Project to transport 400,000 barrels of oil sand production involving a new twin pipeline system running from the oilsands in Alberta, to a new marine terminal in Kitimat, British Columbia to export petroleum and import condensate. In 2005-04-14 Enbridge CEO Patrick D. Daniel announced that Enbridge had entered into a memorandum of understanding with PetroChina International Company Limited to cooperate on the development of the Gateway Pipeline and supply of crude oil from Canada to China. Daniel noted that the agreement with PetroChina was built on the favourable environment for trade between Canada and China which was cultivated by [former] Prime Minister Paul Martin, and the efforts of [former] Alberta Premier Ralph Klein to stimulate Chinese interest in the oil sands.” The project was shelved in 2006 when the market cooled. By 2009 as China’s thirst for energy and need to secure supply has increased perhaps the Northern Gateway Project might be reconsidered ( (O’Meara 2009-09-01).”

Enbridge Enbridge Inc. is involved in energy transportation and distribution in North America and internationally. As a transporter of energy, Enbridge operates, in Canada and the U.S., the world’s longest crude oil and liquids transportation system. The Company also has international operations and a growing involvement in the natural gas transmission and midstream businesses. As a distributor of energy, Enbridge owns and operates Canada’s largest natural gas distribution company, and provides distribution services in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and New York State. Enbridge employs approximately 4,000 people, primarily in Canada, the U.S. and South America. Enbridge’s common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange in Canada and on the New York Stock Exchange in the U.S. under the symbol ENB. Information about Enbridge is available on the Company’s web site at http://www.enbridge.com. Enbridge proposed the Northern Gateway Project and is involved in internal pipeline inspection and invests heavily in innovative leak detection technology. Enbridge has a computer system that can electronically monitor pipelines 24/7 from the Enbridge operations control centre. They also promise to put in safety control valves and leak detection systems to provide a strong safeguard for the environment.”

Andrew Nikiforuk published Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent with Vancouver-based David Suzuki Foundation-Greystone Books in 2008 in which he argues that, “Canadian taxpayers, who made $150 million [Canadian] in royalties from mining activities between 1966 and 2002, have spent more than $4 billion tidying up scores of contaminated sites…” (2008:100)..

Webliography and Bibliography

D’Alessandro, Dominic. 2007. “How can we preserve Canadian ownership?Perspectives: 8.

d’Aquino, Thomas and David Stewart-Patterson. Northern Edge: How Canadians Can Triumph in the Global Economy.

Gelsi, Steve. 2009-09-01. “Energy stocks fall hard as broad market weighs.” MarketWatch. Issue:

O’Meara, Dina. 2009. “China’s $1.9B Alberta oilsands deal: PetroChina partners with Athabasca Oil Sands.” Calgary Herald.

RTTNews. 2009. “PetroChina To Acquire 60% Stake In Two Athabasca Oil-Sands Projects For US$1.7 Bln – Update.”

Nikiforuk, Andrew. 2008. Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent. Vancouver: David Suzuki Foundation-Greystone Books.

Anti-recyclers like the Cato Institute’s Grant Schaumberg, Katherine Doyle (1991), James DeLong of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (1994), Lynn Scarlett (1995) of the Reason Foundation, Jeff Bailey (1995) of the Wall Street Journal, Alan Caruba (2003-01), Daniel K. Benjamin (2003) of the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC), John Tierney (1996), J. Winston Porter of the Waste Policy Center in Leesburg, Va., Libertarian Michael Mungerar (2007) and La Giorgia (2009-01) argue that “the market” should determine what if anything is recycled. Anti-recycler Tierney claimed that the well-publicized 1000s-of-miles journey of the Mobro 4000, a barge carrying Long Islanders’ trash, trying to unload its cargo, incited a garbage guilt epidemic among Americans. He like other anti-recyclers, also claimed that the garbage crisis that emerged from this image continues today under false pretenses: there is no shortage of environmentally safe landfill sites; curbside recycling rarely pays for itself in direct returns; recycling is not economically efficient. (Tierney 1996-06-30)

Recycling advocates Richard A. Denison and John F. Ruston (1996) of the Environmental Defense Fund in Washington, DC argue that the think tanks quoted by the anti-recyclers such as The Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute (both based in Washington DC), the Reason Foundation (based in Santa Monica, CA) and the Waste Policy Center (based in Leesburg, VA) that tend to promote market interests over the state, minimal government intervention in general and government programs of any kind. At least some of these think tanks accept funding from companies involved in “solid waste collection, landfilling and incineration, the manufacturing of products from virgin materials, and the production and sale of packaging and consumer products. Many of the corporations that fund the anti-recyclers have a direct economic stake in maintaining the waste management status quo and in minimizing consumers’ scrutiny of the environmental effects of products and packaging.” (Denison and Ruston 1996-07-18)

Timeline

1960s A political movement to save the environment emerged called the greening of America

1960s Martin Lapierre’s father founded Profix Environnement, an industrial collector of corrugated cardboard based in Laval, Quebec by collecting used boxes and selling them back to manufacturers for reprocessing. Martin, who inherited the business estimated that the cardboard the firm has recycled over the years has saved at least 750,000 trees (“(La Giorgia 2009-04-09).

1970-04-22 20 million people celebrated the first Earth Day in the United States.

1970-04-22 United Congress created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

1972 the Club of Rome published Limits to Growth arguing that the American way of life was not sustainable.

1980 Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) in Bozeman, Montana was formed by a group of economists claiming dedication to improving environmental quality through markets and property rights through research and outreach education. Research is at the heart of PERC’s work followed by outreach and education. PERC claims to have pioneered the approach known as free market environmentalism (FME).

1987 A barge named the Mobro 4000 wandered thousands of miles trying to unload its cargo of Long Islanders’ trash, and its journey had a strange effect on America.” Anti-recycler Tierney claimed that the garbage crisis that emerged from this image continues today under false pretenses. He also claimed that there is no shortage of environmentally safe landfill sites. (Tierney 1996-06-30)

1987 America devised a national five-year plan for trash. The Environmental Protection Agency promulgated a “Waste Hierarchy” that ranked trash disposal options: recycling at the top, composting and waste-to-energy incinerators in the middle, landfills at the bottom. The E.P.A.’s five-year goal, to recycle 25 percent of municipal trash, was announced in a speech in early 1988 by J. Winston Porter, an assistant administrator of the agency. Even as Porter was setting the goal, he realized that it was presumptuous for a bureaucrat in Washington to tell everyone in America what to do with their trash. “After all the publicity about the barge,” Porter recalls, “I sat down with some engineers in my office to estimate how much municipal waste could be recycled. At that time, about 10 percent was being recycled. We looked at the components of waste, made a few quick calculations and figured that it was reasonable to reach a level of 25 percent within five years. It wasn’t a highly quantified thing. Some of the staff didn’t even want me to mention a figure. But I thought it would be good to set a target, as long as it was strictly voluntary and didn’t involve a lot of regulations.” Politicians across the country had bigger ideas. State and city officials enacted laws mandating recycling and setting arbitrary goals even higher than the E.P.A.’s. Most states set rigid quotas, typically requiring that at least 40 percent of trash be recycled, often even more-50 percent in New York and California, 60 percent in New Jersey, 70 percent in Rhode Island. Industries were pressured to set their own goals. Municipalities followed the Waste Hierarchy by building waste-to-energy incinerators and starting thousands of curbside recycling programs-all in the belief that it would be cheaper than landfilling. But the incinerators turned out to be disastrously expensive, and the recycling programs produced a glut of paper, glass and plastic that no one wanted to buy.” (Tierney 1996-06-30)

1989 J. Winston Porter left the Environmental Protection Agency and became president of a consulting firm, the Waste Policy Center in Leesburg, Va. By 1996 he was advising cities and states to abandon their unrealistic goals of recycling and he “ridiculed EPA policies he had helped implement saying, “People in New York and other places are tilting at recycling windmills. […] There aren’t many more materials in garbage that are worth recycling.” (Tierney 1996-06-30)

1991-09 anti-recyclers, Grant Schaumberg and Katherine Doyle, “Wasting Resources to Reduce Waste: Recycling in New Jersey,” Washington DC: Cato Institute,

1994-01-26 James DeLong, of the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington said, “The solution to the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) non-crisis is to recognize that trash disposal is a commodity, like coal or asparagus, and to treat it accordingly. The government could establish a few rules to avoid externalities and cost shifting, and then let the free market work. Operating within this framework, waste disposal companies, truckers, railroads, municipal officials, recyclers, waste generators and others could all perform their receptive functions. The result would be a complex amalgam of regional landfills, short- and long-haul transportation by truck and rail, incineration, recycling, and source reduction. In a few years people would wonder what all the shouting was about.”

1995 anti-recycler, Jeff Bailey, “Curbside Recycling Comforts the Soul, But Benefits are Scant,” Wall Street Journal,

1995-01-19 anti-recycler Lynn Scarlett (Reason Foundation) “A Consumer’s Guide to Environmental Myths and Realities,” Dallas, TX: National Center for Policy Analysis,

2002 “The continuing dialogue about recycling is well illustrated by the February 2002 response of the National Recycling Coalition (NRC)—one of many groups formed around this issue—to the white paper put out by the EPA. The NRC finds much to approve of in the EPA recommendations but returns to the fundamental issue of sustainability: can we go on producing and consuming and disposing of material goods at an ever-increasing rate?”

2003-09 Daniel K. Benjamin published the report entitled Recycling Rubbish: Eight Great Myths about Waste Disposal with Property and Environment Research Center.

2009-04-09 “From last year’s peak, prices [for recyclable material] have dropped 50 to 90 per cent,” said Mairi Welman of the Recycling Council of British Columbia (RCBC), a group of government and industry members with a stake in recycling ( “(La Giorgia 2009-04-09).

2009-01 Profix Environnement, an industrial collector of corrugated cardboard based in Laval, Quebec was struggling to survive as the price of cardboard dropped to zero (“(La Giorgia 2009-04-09).

2009 Quebec promised $4.8 million in loan guarantees to support its recycling industry, as well as legislation allowing recycling companies and municipalities to renegotiate contracts (“(La Giorgia 2009-04-09).

Webliography and Bibliography

DeLong, James V. 1994-01-26. “Wasting Away; Mismanaging Municipal Solid Waste.” Competitive Enterprise Institute Monograph.

Denison, Richard A.; Ruston, John F. 1996-07-18. “Anti-Recycling Myths Commentary on ‘Recycling is Garbage‘”.

La Giorgia, Giancarlo. 2009-04-09. “No cents in recycling as economy kills demand for material.” CBC News.

Munger, Michael. 2007-07-02. “Think Globally, Act Irrationally: Recycling.” July 2, 2007. Library of Economics and Liberty. Accessed 2009-04-13.

Tierney, John. 1996-06-30. “Recycling is Garbage.” New York Times Magazine.

Benjamin, Daniel K. 2003-09. Recycling Rubbish: Eight Great Myths about Waste Disposal PERC Reports: 21:3.

Caruba, Alan. 2003-01. “The Utter Waste of Recycling.”

Too Good to Throw Away: Recycling’s Proven Record

Recycling Means Business in California

Watching the incredibly long line-ups of patient Virginian voters waiting in the early morning rain is really watching history happening. This election has shaken things up. Candidates in the future will not go through the same hurdles if they are not white, middle-aged and male. And youth have shaped the use of media with Web 2.0, texting, etc key to campaigns.

Regardless of the outcome, this election has made changes already in terms of the democratic deficit, voter fatigue and the crisis of confidence in the electoral process.

I was pleased to see my images used in this historic event through Flickr’s Creative Commons License:

“My Boots My Guitar “Wake Up America””

which James also embedded in his makepoliticalsnowviamedia blog providing a full list of clickable credits to the authors whose Creative Commons licensed works used.

Judith Maxwell (2008-01-28), former head of the Economic Council of Canada and Canadian Policy Research Networks, claimed that the high concentration of at-risk Canadians live in highly disadvantaged neighbourhoods of poverty by postal code. In 2008 the Canadian national poverty rate remained at c. 16% where we’ve been stuck for eight years. Maxwell claims that religions, some social-minded businesses and countless volunteers who constitute civil society are revitalizing desperately poor neighbourhoods, tackling homelessness and letting governments know that the current policies prevent people from escaping poverty.

read more | digg story

Maxwell, Judith. 2008-01-28. “Forget policy makers, civic leaders are spearheading the fight to end poverty.” Globe and Mail.

Displaced workers mysteriously drop out of civic, business, political, neighborhood groups, social and leisure activities, country clubs, sports teams and weekly gatherings with friends, Brand and Burgard (2008). UCLA-University of Michigan, Ann Arbor study researcher claims, “Everybody loses when people withdraw from society.”

However, membership in professional and political organizations did not decline in the study group. “Displacement seems to change their whole trajectory of participation (Brand 2008).”

“Even a single involuntary displacement has a lasting impact on a worker’s inclination to volunteer and participate in a whole range of social and community groups and organizations, found the study, which appears in the September issue of the international scholarly journal Social Forces.”

read more | digg story

“Social participation is important to participatory democracy, to healthy neighborhoods, and to effective schools (Putnam 2000). Individuals who participate may also be advantaged in the labor market: social and economic resources are embedded in social networks (Bourdieu 1983; Coleman 1988; Granovetter 1973),1 networks that may be formed through involvement in various social organizations and associations. Social participation is also associated with better physical and mental health and well-being, important outcomes in and of themselves, but also important for the labor market (Berkman 1995; Durkheim 1933; House 1981; House, Landis, and Umberson 1988). From the mid 1940s to the early 1970s, there was an unprecedented increase in social participation in the U.S. This trend coincided with unprecedented and widespread economic prosperity, marked by a low rate of unemployment and generally increasing real earnings. In recent decades, however, average rates of social participation have declined (McPherson, Smith-Lovin, and Brashears 2006; Putnam 2000). Likewise, the trend toward increasingly widespread economic prosperity in the U.S. has reversed (Brand and Burgard 2007-05:3).”

“[I]s the effect of job displacement on social participation mediated by post-displacement psychological distress and/or reduced feelings of social trust or reciprocity, above and beyond experiences of downward socioeconomic mobility? To address this question, we examine the potential mediating role of measures of depression, self-acceptance, and social reciprocity on the relationship between displacement and participation, net of downward social mobility (Brand and Burgard 2007-05:5).”

“Job displacement usually includes a sequence of stressful events from anticipation of job loss through the loss itself, to a spell of unemployment, to job search and training, to reemployment, often at reduced wages and status. Initial movement into unemployment is associated with a number of economic pressures, new patterns of interaction with family members, and personal assessment in relation to individual values and societal pressures (Pearlin et al. 1981). It is therefore not surprising that a significant association has been found between job displacement and psychological distress over the life course: Displaced workers report lower levels of self-acceptance, self-confidence, morale, and higher levels of depression and dissatisfaction with life (Burgard, Brand, and House 2007; Dooley, Fielding, and Levi 1996;Gallo et al. 2000; Kessler, Turner, and House 1989; Turner 1995; Warr and Jackson 1985) (Brand and Burgard 2007-05:5).”

“Expanding on Durkheim’s theory, Wilensky (1961) found that orderly careers, i.e. a succession of jobs related in function with elevations in status, free of unexpected periods of unemployment and disorderly shifts in jobs, occupations, and industries, were associated with strong attachment to one’s community and society (Brand and Burgard 2007-05:6).”

“[T]he “spillover” theory asserts that being employed in a job that encourages initiative, thought, and independence also indirectly encourages social participation (Kohn and Schooler 1982; Rain, Lane, and Steiner 1991; Staines 1980; Wilson and Musik 1997) (Brand and Burgard 2007-05:7).”

“[V]alues and attitudes towards oneself and one’s society may influence levels of social participation. Putnam (2000) argues that where positive social roles, social trust, and norms of reciprocity flourish, individuals participate socially. However, displacement may negatively alter individual attitudes and self-perception, and thus, reduce participation. Thus, the strain of insecure employment, actual displacement events, periods of unemployment, reemployment in jobs with lower earnings and/or lower quality, psychological distress, and the erosion of commitment to social reciprocity may all contribute to decreased levels of social participation among displaced workers (Brand and Burgard 2007-05:7).”

Webliography and Bibliography

Brand, Jennie, and Sarah Burgard. 2007-05. “Effects of Job Displacement on Social Participation: Findings over the Life Course of a Cohort of Joiners.” PSC Research Report No. 07-623. May 2007.

Abstract: “Career disorder and economic distress have been identified as potential causes of the observed decline in social participation in the U.S. We examine the causal effect of job displacement, a career disorder-producing event that is associated with subsequent socioeconomic and psychological decline, on social participation. Using more than 45 years of panel data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study and difference-in-differences regression estimation, we find significant and lasting negative effects of displacement on subsequent social participation for workers displaced during their prime earnings years, ages 35-53, while no effect for workers displaced in the years approaching retirement, ages 53-64. Results also suggest that socioeconomic and psychological decline resulting from job displacement do not explain the negative impact of job displacement on social participation (Brand and Burgard 2007-05).”

Brand, Jennie, and Sarah Burgard. 2008-09. “Effects of Job Displacement on Social Participation: Findings Over the Life Course of a Cohort of Joiners.” Social Forces, .

Burgard, Sarah, Jennie Brand, and James S. House. 2007. “Toward a Better Estimation of the Effect of Job Loss on Health.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 48: 369-384.

Price, Richard H., and Sarah Burgard. 2008. “The new employment contract and worker health in the United States.” In Making Americans healthier : social and economic policy as health policy. New York : Russell Sage.

Putnam, Robert D. 2001. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.

Public Release. 2008-09-01. “Bowling alone because the team got downsized.” Social Forces. Eureka Alert. Accessed September 2, 2008.

“Canada’s social safety net results in lower rates of poverty and income inequality along with higher rates of self-sufficiency of vulnerable populations than in the United States. But many Canadians would be surprised to find out that the U.S. has a lower burglary rate, a lower suicide rate, and greater gender equity than Canada […] Canada’s relatively poor record on child poverty, income inequality, and assault [remain] shocking […] Particularly troubling is its ranking on child poverty. In Canada, according to OECD statistics, one child in seven lives in poverty. Canada also still has an unacceptably high rate of poverty among its working-age population. According to statistics published by the OECD, just over 10 per cent of its working-age population is below the poverty line. This is double the rate of Denmark, the best-performing country on this indicator. Canada’s crime record is also disturbing—with 17 times the rate of assaults as the best-ranked country, 7 times the rate of burglaries, and 3 times the rate of homicides. Crime takes its toll on trust—both within the community and within public institutions. This picture of crime is not what Canadians think of when they think of their society. […] Canada ranks high on the indicator measuring acceptance of diversity […] Canada’s past achievements, such as reducing poverty among its elderly, show that, given the political will, Canada could successfully address other social challenges to sustain future quality of life (Conference Board of Canada Society Overview 2008 ).”

The Conference Board of Canada (2008 ) compared economic, innovation, environment, education, health and society performances of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States which are considered to be Canada’s international peers. Canada’s standard of living ranking dropped from 4th spot in 1990 to 9th in 2008. In terms of Education and Skills, over 40% of adult Canadians lack literacy skills required for everyday life and work in modern society. In terms of innovation Canada scored D since the 1980s and has failed to produce any top global brands.

The full report for 2008 will not be available until September. I am curious to see how data specifically related to Canada’s growing aboriginal community with its unique social histories and current dilemmas will be analysed in this report. When we examine the weakest points in the report, it is obvious that the vulnerabilities faced by Canada’s most at-risk group (aboriginal women and children) affect our international ranking. It is also useful to consider the location of remote aboriginal communities in terms of the most volatile environmental debates in Canada.

Data for this annual report comes from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (c.80%), the United Nations, the World Bank, and the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. The report measures quality of life based on this definition:

“The Conference Board defines a high and sustainable quality of life for all Canadians as being achieved if Canada records high and sustainable performances in six categories: Economy, Innovation, Environment, Education and Skills, Health and Society (B 10/17). The word “sustainable” [1] is a critical qualifier. It is not enough for Canada to boost economic growth if it is done at the expense of the environment or social cohesion. For example, to take advantage of high commodity prices by mining and exporting all our natural resources may make the country rich in the short term, but this wealth will not be sustainable in the long or even medium term. The Conference Board has consistently argued that economic growth and sustainability of the physical environment need to be integrated into a single concept of sustainable national prosperity—what we call here a “high and sustainable quality of life for all Canadians.”

..

“Having a high quality of life means living in communities that are free from fear of social unrest and violence, communities that accept racial and cultural diversity, and those that foster social networks. A country that provides a high quality of life also minimizes the extremes of inequality between its poorest and richest citizens, while reducing the social tensions and conflicts that result from these gaps. Performance in the Society category is assessed using 17 indicators across three dimensions: self-sufficiency, equity, and social cohesion. Self-sufficiency indicators measure the autonomy and active participation of individuals within society, including its most vulnerable citizens, such as persons with disabilities and youth. Equity indicators measure equity of access, opportunities, and outcomes. Social cohesion indicators measure the extent to which citizens participate in societal activities, the level of crime in society, and the acceptance of diversity [. . .] Canada’s social safety net results in lower rates of poverty and income inequality along with higher rates of self-sufficiency of vulnerable populations than in the United States. But many Canadians would be surprised to find out that the U.S. has a lower burglary rate, a lower suicide rate, and greater gender equity than Canada […] Canada’s relatively poor record on child poverty, income inequality, and assault [remain] shocking […] Particularly troubling is its ranking on child poverty. In Canada, according to OECD statistics, one child in seven lives in poverty. Canada also still has an unacceptably high rate of poverty among its working-age population. According to statistics published by the OECD, just over 10 per cent of its working-age population is below the poverty line. This is double the rate of Denmark, the best-performing country on this indicator. Canada’s crime record is also disturbing—with 17 times the rate of assaults as the best-ranked country, 7 times the rate of burglaries, and 3 times the rate of homicides. Crime takes its toll on trust—both within the community and within public institutions. This picture of crime is not what Canadians think of when they think of their society. […] Canada ranks high on the indicator measuring acceptance of diversity […] Canada’s past achievements, such as reducing poverty among its elderly, show that, given the political will, Canada could successfully address other social challenges to sustain future quality of life (Conference Board of Canada Society Overview 2008).”

Footnotes

1. “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Brundtland 1987:43).”

Webliography and Bibliography

Brundtland, Gro Harlem. 1987. Our Common Future: World Commission on Environment and Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Conference Board of Canada. 2008.

Ross Levin, a NYC hedge fund analyst with Arbiter Partners, who calls himself a “passive speculator in securities” met Lionel Lepine, a member of the Athabaskan Chipewyan First Nation whose family and friends living on the contaminated watershed upriver from the oil sands’ effluence are suffering from unprecedented numbers of cancerous tumours.

read more | digg story

A number of recent stories intersect here: Harper’s apology for past treatment of Canada’s First Nations, the pollution of the Athabaskan River north of the oil sands, the impatient development of nonrenewable resources, the meteoric rise of oil commodities market directly caused by irresponsible speculators playing with volatile, unpredictable hedge funds that play havoc with the market making a fortune for some while destroying economic, social and ecological environments all around them.

In a rapid visit to the local library yesterday I grabbed Jake Bernstein’s How the Futures Markets Work. Although it is quite old for the fast-paced risk management industry, there are certain fundamentals that ring true. He briefly traced the history futures contracts leading to the volatile environment where agricultural futures were replaced by the less predictable currency markets. Of course, his book was written long before the meteoric rise of private equity funds.

My concern remains with the absent ethical component on trading floors. Ethical responsibilities are as elastic as the regulations that govern the centuries old practice of hedging. In the period of late capitalism and the emergence of risk society, the cost of destructive unintended byproducts have created havoc in ways that far exceed the commodities/service value. The road to profits and impatient money, is paved with casualties.

Berstein’s facts of market life are telling. He encourages simple methods and systems which require few decisions and little mental conflict. Too much thought is not conducive to successful trading. Too much analysis costs lost opportunities. Keep systems simple. Control your emotions. Practice caring less so that you remain more objective. Don’t ask why. Knowing why may hinder you more than it will help you. Patterns are the best indicators available (What feeds into a “pattern” however is not a science). Timing is what makes money in the futures market (Bernstein 2000:282-3).

In other words, futures’ gurus encourage young hedge fund analysts to not think too much about factors such as displacement of peoples, the degradation of living conditions and the way in which they unwittingly contribute to making vulnerable ecologies and peoples even more vulnerable. Their gurus tell them to not think about the impact of their actions. They are told to not ask why the prices of essential commodities like fuel and food that they are playing with, are pushing certain groups into unimaginable levels of social exclusion. In the end groups at-risk to health degradation are always those least able to protect themselves. How convenient that the gurus do not factor in these social issues. They are entirely absent from finance reports.

But then a lot of information is purposely not included in financial and business reports. Bernstein argues that the simpler systems that take fewer things into consideration will lead to more profits. Yet when he lists off all the potential factors in operation in even a simple fundamental analysis, it is not at all simple. It begins with the highly complex. The algorithms involved may appear to be simplified through the use of databases that seem to generate accurate, objective hard facts. In reality, the accuracy of any query depends on what was fed into it.

Futures trading, also known as commodities trading, the final frontier of capitalism, became a popular speculative and investment vehicle in the US in the 1960s (Bernstein 2000:1). These financial instruments offer unlimited profit potential with relatively little capital. Speculators are drawn to the possibility of quick money or what I like to call impatient money. The great wealth accumulated from speculative financial instruments has spawned careers in brokerage, market analysis, computerized trading, computer software and hardware, accounting, law, advertising which themselves subdivide into more recent opportunities such as those related to risk-management.

While gurus such as Bernstein argue that gambling is for anyone but speculation is for professionals, the chaos and unpredictability of the current global economy have been linked to a growing culture of gambling in futures trading rather than level-headed professionalism. Gamblers create risk simply by placing a bet; professional speculators “transfer risk from the hedgers to the speculators” and it therefore called risk management instead of gambling.

“It rained last night so the price of soy beans will be down today.” Although the basis of fundamental analysis in economics is supply and demand, the actual fundamental analysis of specific markets that might generate accurate price predictions are complicated as numbers of factors overlap and massive quantities of data need to be considered. The simple equation involves how much of a commodity or service are buyers willing to pay at a given time and place. There used to be a correlation between price and consumption. Factors that impact on price of commodities include the state of the economy (local, regional, national and international – inflationary, recessionary with rising or falling employment), availability of alternate products or services, storage possibilities, weather, seasonality, price cycles, price trends, government subsidies, political influences, protectionist attitudes, international tensions, fear of war, hoarding, stockpiling, demand for raw materials (sugar, petroleum, copper, platinum, coffee, cocoa), currency fluctuations, health of the economy, level of unemployment, housing starts. Most technical systems are not effective in making traders money.

In spite of this there is still a persistent belief that there is an invisible hand that guides market correcting imbalances like a living organism or finely-tuned machine.

“Markets work perfectly as they respond to the multiplicity of forces that act upon them. It is our inability to find, parse, and correctly weight the impact of these factors that limits our results and success of our fundamentally based forecasts (Bernstein 2000:162).”

The bottom line is that wealth disparities continue to intensify and that these inordinate extremes of wealth and poverty destabilizes society. These distorted economic relationships deprive us of any sense of control over economic forces that threaten to disrupt the foundations of our existence. National governments have been either unwilling or unable to deal effectively with this situation in which we live where the deplorable superfluity of great wealth exists alongside the acute suffering of those living in miserable, demoralizing and degrading abject poverty even in countries like Canada.

Social equality is an entirely impracticable chimera. Even if equality could be achieved it could not be sustained. Wages and income should be unequal and should correspond to different efforts, skills and capacities. However, equal justice for all is not only necessary but urgently needed.

As long as those involved in the financial and energy industries remain in denial of their role by hiding behind economic and ideological polemics and simply dismissing concerns from others there can be no productive change. A fresh look at the problem should involve people like Lionel Lepine who are directly involved with decisions, along with experts from a wide spectrum of disciplines. There will not be a voluntary ethical turn so for now we desperately need public policies that will regulate industries.

Selected Timeline of Critical Events

1710 The first modern organized futures exchange began with the Dojima Rice Exchange in Osaka, Japan. The Japanese feudal landowners began to use certificates of receipt against future rice crops. As these futures certificates became financial instruments in the general economy the value of the certificates would rise and fall as the price of rice fluctuated. The Dojima Rice Exchange emerged as the world’s first futures market where speculators traded contracts for the future delivery of rice or “certificates of receipt.” The Japanese government outlawed the practice when futures contracts (where delivery never took place) began to have no relationship to the underlying cash value of the commodity leading to wild and unpredictable fluctuations (Bernstein 2000:30).

1848 The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was formed as a price risk occurred in the grain markets of Chicago.

1865 The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) organized trading of futures contracts.

1919 – 1945 The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) traded futures in eggs, butter, apples, poultry and frozen eggs (Bernstein 2000:70).

1960s Futures trading, also known as commodities trading, the final frontier of capitalism, became a popular speculative and investment vehicle in the US in the 1960s (Bernstein 2000:1).

1970s There was increasing volatility in international currency exchange rates as the Bretton Woods agreement began to break down. Business people transferred risk of volatility in international markets by hedging with speculators willing to take the risk. Futures markets began to expand into foreign currencies as fluctuated wildly competing against each other and the US dollar.

1972 The total volume of futures contracts trading was 18 million and the top ten most actively traded future contracts were agricultural futures (Bernstein 2000:71).

1974 The US Congress passed the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Act and established Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to protect participants in the futures market from fraud, deceit and abusive practices such as unfair trading practices (price manipulation, prearranged trading, trading ahead of a customer), credit and financial risks, and sales practice abuses (Bernstein 2000:32). Individual nation states have similar regulating bodies.

1982 Futures trading in the US was self-regulating and anyone in the business had to become a member of the National Futures Association (NFA).

1986 The total volume of futures contracts trading was 184 million and the T bonds were among the most actively traded future contracts (Bernstein 2000:71).

1990 The price of crude oil rose dramatically when Hussein invaded Kuwait.

1999 The most actively traded future contracts were interest rates, futures, stock index futures, energy futures, currency futures and agricultural futures (Bernstein 2000:72).

2000 The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) trades futures in livestock futures, currency futures, interest rate futures, stock index futures (Bernstein 2000:70).

2000 More than 90 foreign futures exchanges emerged with the ever-increasing demand for new financial instruments “to hedge against fluctuating interest rates, changing foreign exchange rates and institutional securities portfolios (Bernstein 2000:46).

2008 Calgary has a high percentage of young millionaires with lots of disposable income. There are also c.4000 homeless people in Calgary, the oil capital of Canada. c. 40% of the homeless are working poor who are unable to afford housing.

Webliography and Bibliography

Bernstein, Jake. 2000. How the Futures Markets Work. New York Institute of Finance.

Martin Hochmeister claims that his Semantic Web Company, generate semantic use cases that enhance knowledge productivity through semantic web technologies that connect and situate data in a meaningful contextual structure that resembles the mind-brain network for organizing info and experience.

read more | digg story

Webliography and Bibliography

Hochmeister, Martin. 2008. “Semantic Web: a ‘humanizer’ for computer-aided work.” >> Semantic Web Company. May 20.

Random notes for the bricoleur:

The process behind the blog

An email from my Twitter account told me I was being followed by digitalassetman @ twitter

When this happens unless the tweeter’s avatar suggests an obviously 100% market-motivation, I skim read a bit to get a sense of the author/tweeter’s style, form, content and context. Hochmeister’s article provides succinct language relating to a use of the semantic web that does not interpret knowledge management as uniquely a commodity management. While Hochmeister’s main interest is as a business offering products and services, his skillful use of language his writing may prove to be a quotable resource. I will follow more through twitter and on his blog from time to time.

I am looking for the most precise, efficient terms for what is being done in the name of the semantic web in 2008.

I have been exploring interconnectivity between a myriad of open source Semantic Web services and products. The methodical slow process of linking is not unlike a digital sudoka where urls are lined up instead of numbers.

How did Hochmeister code his blog’s .jpg so that digg.com automatically-generated the appropriate 100 pixel image as an image option for diggers to associate with his post?

Tag Cloud

(folksonomy, tagging) : semantic web, semantic web company, computer-aided work, semantically enabled, semantically enabled services, semantically enabled products, services and products, humanize, dehumanize, are you a machine?, are you human?, knowledge as commodity, digital sudoka,

Snurl Roll

(snurl cloud) http://snurl.com/29yiv http://snurl.com/29y8w http://snurl.com/29yaa

Semantic Web Services and Products:

igoogle.com, delicious.com, digg.com, wordpress.com

twitter.com

snurl.com & tinyurl.com

Trackbacks:

http://www.semantic-web.at/1.36.resource.238.semantic-web-a-x27-humanizer-x27-for-computer-aided-work.htm http://snurl.com/29yiv for

http://www.semantic-web.at/1.36.resource.238.semantic-web-a-x27-humanizer-x27-for-computer-aided-work.htm

http://digitalassetmanagementorguk.wordpress.com


http://tinyurl.com/66tdjf

McHugh Bluff Stairs for Fitness. Tory Calgary, AB MLA Dave Rodney is the first to propose legislation through the vehicle of a bill (2008-05-11) offering a maximum of $1500 tax relief to those who purchase a limited number of eligible fitness-related services. Would a tax credit only push a few people to step away from their screens and go outdoors, the can-but-will-not?

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Purchasing a club, team or gym membership does not make the buyer physically fit. The same degree of fitness can be achieved on Calgary’s biking, walking and hiking paths and trails. People get fit by choosing to use stairs indoors or outdoors like those at McHugh Bluff. Others keep in shape through paid or unpaid work related activities. How do we monetize their contributions towards relieving Alberta’s ailing medical system? Do we have statistics on the demographics of health-care users specifically as related to income and fitness? Do we have evidence-based research that lack of physical fitness on the part of individual’s is a key component in weakening Alberta’s medical system? Who is driving this bill? Are community members concerned with individual well-being who are not linked to the sports industry (organizations and businesses who monetize fitness) actively engaged in promoting this bill? How will this bill facilitate fitness improvement as part of quality of life issues for city’s most vulnerable populations? Is there any evidence-based research that the the most vulnerable groups, the biggest consumers of public medical system resources, would benefit in any way from a tax-incentive? What percentage of the municipal population who have access to a disposable income required to access pay-per-use fitness activities would find themselves in the tax bracket where this would benefit them? What is the real saving? What are the real costs of this proposed tax-incentive, spread across the broad spectrum of the municipal community, to encourage those few people who have the buying power but not the will, to puchase fitness-related services? Once they have purchased them is their any monitoring device that they would use them? Is there evidence-based research to ensure that those best served by tax deductible fitness-related purchases (those who have disposable income) really require a tax-incentive? If the largest demographic group using health services is a specific income or age group, why not examine ways of reaching that group first by improving universal access to fitness-related courses or memberships by financially assisting those who would-but-cannot because of a price hurdle, then focus on the vague possibility that a tax-incentive might get some people away from their screens and outdoors, the can-but-will-not?